Last Updated on March 7, 2021, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 989
Starr overhears her uncle Carlos, who is a cop, arguing with her parents about Khalil. Carlos thinks Khalil was a drug dealer and that Carlos’s colleague, Brian—whom Starr still thinks of as One-Fifteen—may have felt threatened. Maverick disagrees; he's sure Khalil was killed purely because he was Black. Still, Carlos wants Starr to speak to detectives about the incident, but Lisa doesn't want anyone to know Starr was there.
Starr enters the room; she says she will talk to the police as long as Carlos is there if it will help secure justice for Khalil. Carlos has always been protective of his sister and nieces. Maverick was in prison when Starr was young, so Carlos acted as a father then. Starr and Sekani were also looked after by Ms. Rosalie when Lisa was in school for nursing. Rosalie's daughter, Tammy, was Lisa's high school best friend and Khalil's aunt.
At Rosalie's house, Rosalie says Khalil wanted Maverick's help to escape being a drug dealer. Starr is pained by this; she knows Khalil wasn't a thug.
Maverick and Lisa give Rosalie some money in recognition of her previous support of them and to help them pay for Khalil's funeral.
The day she is due to speak to the detectives, Starr feels sick. Maverick prays for the family, asking for the protection of Black Jesus. Lisa drives Starr the forty-five minutes to school. After school, Seven will drive her back to the clinic where Lisa works, and then Lisa will drive Starr to the police station.
At school, Starr is approachable and speaks differently, not wanting to be seen as an "angry black girl." Her friends Maya and Hailey don't know about Khalil. The only other Black student in the eleventh grade is Ryan, Maya's boyfriend. Starr listens to the other students' stories about spring break in the Bahamas and thinks that her supposed best friend, Hailey, didn't text her during the week. Hailey unfollowed Starr on Tumblr for posting a photo of a Black teenager, Emmett Till, who was mutilated and killed by white men in 1955, and now things have changed between them, despite their having bonded when Hailey lost her mother to cancer and Starr lost Natasha.
Chris wants to talk to Starr about what happened between them: before spring break, he pulled out a condom and Starr was furious, saying she wasn't yet ready for sex. Starr does miss him; Chris tries to win her over by rapping the theme song to their shared favorite TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. At first it works, but then Starr remembers One-Fifteen shooting Khalil, starts to cry, and walks away.
After school, Seven drives Starr and Sekani back to Garden Heights, stopping at a Chinese restaurant first before they arrive at Lisa's workplace, where they all eat together.
Brenda, Khalil's mother, arrives in distress, her hair uncombed, covered in sores and scabs. Lisa hugs her and gives her some food, but Starr is upset because Brenda didn't take care of Khalil due to her drug addiction. But Lisa says that, regardless, she is Khalil's mother and Starr should respect that.
Carlos meets Lisa and Starr at the police station. It is full of police officers, and Lisa can see that Starr is anxious; she wants to take her home, but Carlos convinces them that Starr will have to talk to the police at some point.
Two detectives, Gomez and Wilkes, come in. Gomez asks how old Starr is and how long she knew Khalil. She asks why Khalil was at the party...
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and whether he had anything to do with a fight that broke out there. When Starr describes what One-Fifteen did, Gomez asks whether Khalil complied and whether he seemed "irate." Starr, annoyed, says that she and Khalil both felt the cop was harassing him and then says that the officer forced Khalil out of the car.
Gomez's interrogation continually asks whether Khalil "stayed put" and whether he did anything to provoke the attack. She then asks whether Starr knows if Khalil sold narcotics. She truthfully says she saw no indication of this but admits she had heard things about him dealing drugs. Gomez asks whether Khalil drank alcohol at the party, at which point Lisa interjects to say that Gomez is behaving as if Khalil and Starr are on trial. By the time they leave the police station, Starr is convinced that Khalil will never receive justice.
These three chapters serve to establish the stark dichotomy between the world in which Williamson Prep exists and the world Starr inhabits as a Black girl in Garden Heights, particularly in her dealings with the police. Starr thinks of Hailey and Maya as her best friends. However, although she has spoken to them about issues she is having with her boyfriend, Chris—which many people would think were extremely intimate—she does not tell her white friends about what happened with Khalil at the party or how it has affected her. Hailey and Maya are one part of Starr's life, but they are incapable of understanding the way it feels for her to navigate the world as a Black girl. Starr has become particularly convinced of this because of Hailey's reaction to Starr's Tumblr posts about Emmett Till. Starr's reaction to her white boyfriend, Chris, during this section suggests that it will become increasingly difficult for her to maintain the life she has been living up to this point, speaking and behaving differently at school to control how she is thought of. Evidently, at the police station, it does not matter how she speaks; the interrogation by Detective Gomez underscores the fact that Starr is viewed only as Black by the police and that there is never going to be any attempt to secure true justice for Khalil, who is defined by his skin color and his suspected involvement in the drug trade.